WARSAW, 21 Sept (APM) - Poland’s drugs policy for 2018-2022 was accepted on Tuesday by the Council of Ministers, reported Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (pB11) on Wednesday.
The policy advocates greater access to effective and safe drugs, as well as a transparent and rational reimbursement system. It proposes adding further vaccines to the reimbursement lists and allowing health centres without contracts with the National Health Fund (NHF) to conduct state-financed vaccinations.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) wants to increase the share of the pharmas in financing drugs and is proposing an increase in the number of generics to be reimbursed. It wants to improve the availability of medications by making clinical trials more widespread and increasing the number of drugs registered in Poland.
The Farmacja Polska chamber of commerce said the policy requires greater detail in many places, a budget needs to be secured for achieving the objectives and a team coordinating its implementation should be appointed.
Meanwhile, the Polish Association of Pharmaceutical Industry Employers (PZPPF) claims the industry was not consulted on the draft, which, after publication, was described by industry experts as a list of wishes and good intentions. Much will depend on how the pursuit of its objectives is checked and accounted for.
Reimbursement budget to rise
As the NHF is changing its financial plan for 2018, the MoH has updated its regulation on the allocation of funds, reported Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (pB10) on Tuesday.
The NHF’s overall budget is to increase by 1.13 bn zlotys (€263 million) in the amended financial plan, while the reimbursement budget will increase by 523 million zlotys (€121.5 million).
This will not result in the reimbursement budget exceeding the limit of 17% of the overall budget. After the announcement of the reimbursement list in May, the NHF announced that the risk of payback by pharmas may become real, whereas this increase in the budget has meant that the risk has declined.
Polish government wants to conduct clinical trials
The Polish government wants to finance clinical trials of medicines developed by Polish universities, reported Rzeczpospolita (pA15) on Tuesday.
The government wants to increase the number of Phase I trials from its current level of just 7.5% by establishing a new Medical Research Agency, which is to be financed by a 0.3% write down against the NHF’s revenues. This constitutes the equivalent of 50 million zlotys (€11.6 million) in 2019, 466 million zlotys (€108 million) in 2020 and over 1 bn zlotys (€232 million) in 2029.
Prescriptions will no longer need to contain word 'doctor'
The proposed amendments to the Pharmaceutical Law include a change in the content of prescriptions, reducing the amount of information on prescriptions, reported Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (pB10) on Tuesday.
So far, pharmacists have had to explain to the NHF why they sold medicines to patients for prescriptions which did not contain the word “doctor”, as a name stamp stating, for instance, “professor John Smith, cardiologist” was insufficient. Consequently, patients were told to either pay the full amount or return to the doctor so he or she could correct the prescription. This change will be the first reduction of information required on a prescription for a long time.
59% of Poles would take flu jabs if they were reimbursed
According to SW Research’s report, 59% of Poles would vaccinate themselves against flu if vaccinations were reimbursed, whereas a third of the population would still not consider this, reports Gazeta Wyborcza (p2 Tylko Zdrowie supplement) on Friday.
Experts at a Flu Forum debate agreed that the vaccination rate would increase if nurses were able to write out prescriptions for flu vaccines and conduct the qualifying examinations, as waiting in queues for a doctor currently results in people withdrawing from flu vaccinations. Another idea to increase the vaccination rate was to train pharmacists to administer the vaccines and to conduct vaccinations in a private room at the pharmacy, just as in various other European countries.
3.7% of Poland’s total population and 11.4% of people aged over 65 currently take flu vaccines.
LEK-AM is rapidly growing pharma on Polish market
LEK-AM sells almost 80 products, which it is constantly improving, while launching new products, reports Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (p4 Forum Przesiebiorczosci supplement) on Friday.
The company produces and sells over-the-counter products, dietary supplements and prescription-only drugs, which account for over 60% of its sales.
All of its products are generics, which are frequently improvements on the originator drugs through new routes of administration, improvements in taste or appearance, simplification of dosage or changes in pack sizes. The company wants to launch several exceptional new products in the future, some of which are currently undergoing registration.